Just like all of you, we have been greatly looking forward to attending the ‘Be Courageous’ Regional Convention. Don’t worry I won’t spoil anything from the convention itself, but just share briefly our experience. There is one English Convention in Ecuador, maybe all of South America. It is located at the Bethel branch in a huge city near the West coast called Guayaquil. It’s about a 10-12 hour bus ride, a 6-8 hour car drive at night (longer during the day due to traffic), or a short 40 min flight by plane. We decided to fly. Here’s a map of where we live and where the Convention and branch are located.
Traveling to and back from Guayaquil was fairly smooth, “fairly.” Can you really ever travel somewhere without some little bumps along the way? Well, we apparently can’t. To begin our trip, our close friend, Felipe, picked us up and drove us to the airport in Quito 2 hours from our apartment. Once we got to our gate to wait, we found several other witnesses traveling to the convention too.
Our flight got delayed 4 times and we began to worry a little. It was Thursday evening and we wanted to get to our hotel and get well-rested for the convention, especially cause Mel and I were just recovering from bad colds. We were told by other friends that it was common for the airline we were flying to cancel flights so that they could get more passengers on one plane, and sometimes they just cancel at the last minute, you know, for fun. So we began to worry that we wouldn’t be able to fly out that night, but we did.
We arrived in Guayaquil Thursday night around 8pm or so and made our way to the hotel. The hotel we stayed at had dozens of witnesses staying there too, including several families with kids. After an excellent breakfast buffet Friday morning (yes it needed to be mentioned) provided by the hotel, we got on a bus a group of us witnesses chartered to take us to the convention. After a 30 min ride, we arrived at the Bethel branch.
Like all other Bethel Branches, the grounds were beautifully maintained. There are even large iguanas there, about 2ft long or so. They usually were climbing or resting in the trees. Don’t sit under one for too long, you might get an unwelcomed gift from above.
TheVenue for the convention was open air with a cover. Attending this English convention were mostly need greaters serving in the country and Bethelites working at the branch. It was so encouraging meeting and visiting with so many need greaters and full-time servants. During the convention, one speaker said this convention was like attending a large pioneer meeting. There was between 1,100 - 1,200 in attendance, including a special quest from Warwick NY.
The convention itself was so encouraging! Afterward you feel so courageous, like you could take on the world because Jehovah is with you. We were also greatly encouraged by spending 3 days with so many need greaters. To hear their experiences and the confidence they have about this form of service really built us up. We also got to meet a few couples and families that happened to be visiting Ecuador to “spy out the land.” Some were from Australia, United States, and Canada. Hearing their goals and the sacrifices they have already made to reach their goal of serving where the need is great was a great boost to us, it invigorated us.
Our visiting speaker from World Headquarters was Robert Luccioni and his wife Faith. No surprise here, but they were so loving and friendly. We spoke with them a couple times and loved getting to know them a little. Events like this get you so excited for the New World where you can spend more time with our brothers and sisters getting to know each other and enjoying each other’s company.
The Convention is jammed packed with special treats for all of us. Wesley’s favorite part, in addition to the Jonah movie, was the symposium about the animals. Here are his notes.
It was an amazing weekend, filled with so much encouragement. We met new friends that we hope to stay in contact with and enjoyed associating with some brothers and sisters we already knew. We all had a wonderful time, it’s sad it came and went so fast, but now- it was time to head home.